He can’t say he wasn’t warned.
The Iranian general appointed to lead the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force after a U.S. drone strike killed terror Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad has made a public show of planning to continue Soleimani’s strategy of confrontation with the Trump administration.
But the U.S. diplomat in charge of Iranian affairs had some very undiplomatic words for Gen. Esmail Ghaani, according to a Reuters report Thursday.
The violent death that greeted Soleimani might just be waiting for anyone who wants to follow in his footsteps, Brian Hook reportedly told the Arabic-language daily Asharq al-Awsat.
“If Ghaani follows the same path of killing Americans, then he will meet the same fate,” Hook said.
The Tehran government promptly labeled the issue “governmental terrorism,” according to Reuters, but it was a warning Iranians — and the rest of the terrorist world — needed to hear.
No one who’s even vaguely followed world events over the past 40 years could have missed the fact that the Islamic Republic of Iran has been engaged in a long-running conflict with the United States and other Western nations.
While the utterly naïve, or treacherously deceptive, Obama administration attempted to appease the murderous mullahs with the disastrous Iran nuclear deal, President Donald Trump has taken a harder line against the tyrants of Tehran. The sanctions Trump imposed after pulling out of the nuclear deal are biting the Iranian economy badly.
In the second half of 2019, the Trump administration publicly shrugged off a series of increasingly serious provocations from Iran — including the downing of an American drone, attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf and an attack on a major Saudi oil field.
However, the administration finally took direct action against an Iranian-supported militia in Iraq after the death of an American contractor in a missile attack on an American base by an Iranian-supported militia in Iraq.
The U.S. military launched its airstrikes Dec. 29 on militia camps in Iraq and Syria that killed 25 militia members.
When Iranian supporters responded to that attack by surrounding the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad in the first week of January, Trump had had enough: Soleimani, who was at the Baghdad International Airport, was killed in a precision drone strike.
And his successor can expect the same treatment if he continues Soleimani’s ways, Hook said, according to Reuters.
“The president has always said that he will always respond decisively to protect American interests,” Hook said, speaking in Davos, Switzerland.
“I think the Iranian regime understands now that they cannot attack America and get away with it.”
That’s pretty much the opposite of the message sent by former President Barack Obama, who spent his time negotiating a nuclear deal that even then-Secretary of State John Kerry would help fund terrorist activities through the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,” Kerry told CNN in a 2016 interview, also in Davos.
“You know, to some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented,” he said.
Fortunately, that kind of embarrassing impotence, that humiliating appeasement, is no longer part of American policy.
And while Soleimani’s successor, according to Fox News, publicly threatened to pursue “Soleimani’s path with the same force” to drive the United States from the region, it’s an idea he might want to rethink.
A different American diplomat in a very different State Department is giving a different message in 2020 — it just happens to be from the same Swiss city in which Kerry spoke four years ago.
If the Iranian regime plans to continue its low-grade state of war with the United States, and if Ghaani chooses to continue the tactics of his predecessor that led to the loss of American lives, he’s likely not going to be long for this earth.
And he can’t say he wasn’t warned.